Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Inductive Philosophy And The Strawman Shuffle

Blog Philosopher Keith Devens opines about the inductive principle and how it illustrates the "futility of the atheistic worldview".


[link] One of the nicest illustrations of the futility of atheistic philosophy is the fact that the inductive principle -- essentially, the principle that past experience is a good predictor of future events, or in short, that "the future will be like the past" -- is simply without justification on an atheistic worldview.

Now, inductive reasoning can indeed be a valuable tool in the scientific method's toolbelt that can be used to ferret out truths, or pointing the way towards possible truths, and it does indeed have it's limitations, but where Kevin missteps is where he makes the assumption that atheism is science, and visa versa.

This is, "of course" (to quote Kevin), bullshit.

[link] An atheist believes in much more than "there are no gods". Of course he also claims to have other knowledge, the ability to do science, and so on.

Atheism is the absence of god-belief in a human being. Period. The end. It does not imply anything else. It is a descriptive label, just like "theist" indicates the presence of god-belief in a human being.

To attribute these mythical "beliefs" or "other knowledge" to either of these descriptive labels is not only fallacious, but disengenious as well.

Atheism and science are not synonyms, just as theism and "drooling idiocy" are not synonyms.

Some individual atheists may lay claim to this "other knowledge", and to the ability to "do science", but it is not a requirement of atheism. Some theists may think that a trillion-year-old alien being named Xenu captured the universal bad guys and allowed our thetans to inhabit our lesser organisms, but this belief is not a requirement of theism.

Why is this so hard for people to understand? So, Kevin's blithe and completely inaccurate characterization of atheists as holding some monolithic set of beliefs and claiming "other knowledge", and of atheism as a worldview (it's not), is the only thing supporting his assertion that the "atheistic philosophy" is futile. (This is another bold-faced boner - because there is no "atheist philosophy" subscribed to by all atheists. Atheism may be a component of an individual's philosophy, but atheism itself is not a "philosophy".)

Straw man much?


Samuel Douglas said...

I'm glad somone actually publically agrees with me. I think you hit it bang on.

Michael Bains said...

... theism and "drooling idiocy" are not synonyms.

Oh! Its... so... hard... not to... go... there...

LOL! Of course doing so would make me as bad as ol' Kevi... And I DO respect alot of thinking done by alot of theists.

Thanks to Orac for reminding me of this annex site. I hope they get those "beats the hell outta Wintel" (LMAO!!)servers up and running again real quick. I missed you guys' stuff big-time this long weekend!

Cori said...

My favorite bit explaining the idea of atheism is as follows, I think it my be Dawkins who said it:

"Most people are atheist in regards to all of the gods that have ever existed. Some of us just go one god further."

Brent Rasmussen said...

"If you are, then you are saying that 'atheists only believe 'that there are no Gods'. You therefore surrender claim to any other opinions and claims."

Did you read my post Simeon? I said, and I quote:

"Atheism is the absence of god-belief in a human being. Period. The end. It does not imply anything else. It is a descriptive label, just like "theist" indicates the presence of god-belief in a human being."

Some atheists (folks in whom there is an absence of god-belief) may indeed make the positive claim "there are no gods." However, this is by no means a requirement of being an atheist. To be an atheist all you have to do is lack god-belief. For whatever, or no reason. It is a default state to which other attributes are added depending on the individual person.

That is my point. Saying that "an atheist" (implying atheism in general) is incapable of inductive reasoning, is complete and utter nonsense. Just like saying the same thing about "a theist" would also be nonsense.

You're not getting it. Those two descriptive labels imply nothing except the presence or absence of god-belief in a human being.

Kevin's misstep was the implication that all atheists hold the same beliefs and philosophies. This is untrue, just as it is untrue for all theists.

"He said that there was no justification for induction if you hold an atheistic worldview."

Again with the non-reading thing. Sheesh, Simeon. It's all right there in my original post.

There is no such thing as an "atheistic worldview". It's a made up, nonsensical phrase that seems to mean something when it really doesn't. Semantic content equals zero.

Now, I have no problem with Kevin making his argument against specific individuals who actually do hold the philosophical outlook that he is arguing against. But when he generalizes to all atheists, that is where I have a major problem with it. Because it just isn't true.

All atheists are not the same. There is no "atheistic worldview". Not all atheists claim to be able to "do science". "Doing science" is not a requirement of atheism. Claiming "other knowledge" is also not a requirement of atheism. When Kevin says "An atheist believes..." he is immediately talking out of his asshole because atheism is NOT a belief, and all atheists do NOT believe the same things. Atheism is the lack of one, single, very specific belief - the belief in the actual, physical existence of a god or gods. That's it. What individual atheists may or may not believe is entirely up to them, but their beliefs do NOT make them atheists.

Crap I'm tired of explaining this to people.

Next, I can guess that you're going to quote a dictionary at me or something. That would be typical. All praise Noah Webster, amen. The argument's over, the dictionary has spoken.

Sorry. I'm a little peeved today and I'm taking it out on you. Aren't you lucky? ;)

Anonymous said...

'at the end of the day we can look at whether or not the Christians views are actually true or not, '


Which Christian worldview? There are over 10,000 of them. You will find no consistency on any issue. So what exactly is a 'Christian' worldview?

Mark said...

Ahesisim asserts that God is unproven. The burden of proof lies with those that believe in God. To date, they (the believers) have not submitted sufficient (any?) credible evidence.

dave106 said...

the more you know yourself the more clarity there is.you may wander all over the earth but you have to come back to yourself.

dave106 said...

Only sheep need a shepherd.

dave106 said...

God is a waste of time and space one must be free of fear and of Belief.